Avianca begins using CAE A320 simulator

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Colombia's Avianca has placed into service its first simulator for Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Avianca in a statement issued on 18 January said the simulator, manufactured by Canada's CAE, has been installed at its training centre in Bogota. The carrier says it is its first simulator for the A319/A320.

Avianca, which in 2007 selected A320 family aircraft to replace its fleet of Boeing MD-80s and 757s, placed into service its first A320 in 2008. According to Flightglobal's ACAS database, the carrier now operates 12 A320s and four A319s with another 22 A320s and 14 A319s on outstanding order.

The outstanding order includes aircraft that have been earmarked for Brazilian sister carrier Ocean Air and Ecuadorean sister carrier AeroGal. ATI reported last year that Ocean Air was earmarked to take its first A319 in early 2010 and AeroGal would begin taking A320s in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Avianca in its statement yesterday confirms the new Bogota-based simulator will be used to train its own pilots as well as pilots at Ocean Air and AeroGal. Ocean Air plans to use A319s to supplement its fleet of Fokker 100s while AeroGal plans to use A320s to replace its Boeing 737-200s.

CAE first announced early last year a contract with Avianca covering one CAE series 500 A320 simulator. At the time it said the simulator would be delivered by the end of 2009 to a new training centre being built by Avianca in Bogota.

Avianca says the new simulator represents a $12 million investment. The carrier adds it recently completed testing of the simulator with foreign pilots as part of a now concluded project to certify the simulator with Colombia's CAA.